HORROR MY LITTLE EYE (18) 95min 0000
How in the name of Michael Myers do you breathe new life into the ‘stalk’n’slash’ horror film sub-genre, now that’s it’s gone not merely beyond irony (Scream) but moved past parody of irony (Scary Movie) into . . .
where? A post-ironic place?
Maybe you go all the way back to basics, which is just what director Marc Evans and writers David Hilton and James Watkins have done with My Little Eye. Except, they’ve given their creepy old dark house populated by good-looking American kids a very modern spin.
The simple premise, which riffs on reality TV shows, most obviously Big Brother, is that five twentysomethings are attempting to stay for six months in an isolated house as part of a web-based reality show, the cash prize for which is $1m. The unseen hosts do their best to scare the contestants out of the house and the prize money, but things going bump in the night fails to faze the obnoxious kids . . . until, that is, they find out
why they’re really there.
Just as The Blair Witch Project went to great lengths to establish the authenticity of what we saw on screen, using in that case ‘found’ video footage, so too does My Little Eye attempt to engender credibility by having us view the events via spycams dotted all over the house, as though we were the web show’s audience. It makes for pretty chilling, and not-a-little morbid viewing. And the remarkable soundtrack, largely comprising effects (creaking doors, howling winds, etc), further emphasises the horrible building sense of isolation, malign observation
and paranoia. (Miles Fielder)
I Selected release from Fri 4 Oct. See prey/ew. page 26.
COMEDY VAN WILDER: PARTY LIAISON
(15) 92min 0
In Road Trip one of the peripheral characters. Tom Green‘s Barry. was so fond of college life he never wanted to graduate. In Van Wilder: Party Liaison the same idea is used. except that the character is much less funny and much more one-dimensional.
Made as one of the National Lampoon films. Van Wilder shows just how far the college movie has slipped since the heady days of Animal House. the very first in the franchise. Here. the writers think that a dog with large testicles. an Indian student called Taj Mahal and the acronym DIK (Delta Iota Kappa) are simply hilarious. There are. of course. also the obligat0ry gross-out gags. the one involving chocolate eclairs being about as low as anyone has gone yet.
The very yOung. as well as the mentally impaired and the emotionally Crippled. WI“ no doubt find it funny. and also view the romance between Van (Ryan Reynoldsi and Tara Reid as
Uninspired gross-out crap
sweet and charming. Sadly. there is nothing here at all for the rest of us. apart from appreciating little ironies: Van is supposed to ‘inspire the uninspired. yet inspiration — along vvith a lot of other things — is completely absent in this film. lNick Dawson)
I General release. out now.
ROMANTIC DRAMA VILLA DES ROSES (12) 119min 0..
Paris. 1913. and Europe teeters on the edge of war. But in the heart of Franco-German tension lies a little patch of green and pleasant land: Villa Des Roses English Boarding House. home for eccentrics and outcasts. The peculiar routines of its reSidents are suddenly disturbed by the arrival of new maid LOLiise iJulie Delpyl whose calm mystique sparks the amorOus attentions of yeting artist Richard Grunewald lShaun Dingwalll. His charm inevitably wins out. but the predictability of this turn of events is relieved by a darkly Gothic feel. where surreal little cameo moments flourish amid the Villa's cobwebs and dust.
Director Frank Van Rassel links the creaky house by whizzing through pipes and air vents which form a network of eavesdroi’ming contraptions. And the fantastical feel carries echoes of Ba/ Luhrmann's
Never really blossoms
Moulin Rouge as the Paris skyline is intermittently transported from an old turn-of-the-century postcard into a tWinkling starry vision.
But Villa Des Roses unfortunately lacks an ultimate hook to capture the imagination. and although well made and well acted. it never really blossoms into a great film.
(Ruth HedgeSl I Selected release from Fri 7/ Oct.
SCIENCE FICTION CLOCKSTOPPERS (PG) 94min .0.
This oflering is from the producer of Aliens iCale Anne Hurdl. the director of Star Trek: Insurrection iJonathan Frakesi and American cable-TV station Nickelodeon. purveyors of anodyne family mowes. A fine technical pedigree. to be sure. but a mongrel project all the same.
A futuristic wristwatch catapults high school student Zak (Jesse Bradfordl into ‘hypertime’. where the world is frozen. yet he and his beautiful Hispanic girlfriend lPaula Garcesi can move around freely and have lots of innocent fun. Until the evil head of Quantum T(-3chnologies (Michael Biehn). who wants to take over the world. kidnaps and threatens to kill Zak's science teacher dad.
Teenies with a crush on Swunfﬁzin star Bradford might find some saving graces. and politically correct parents vvill love the United Colours of Benneton casting. wholesome family values and toned-down Violence — paint-ball guns fire liguid nitrogen balls which free/e rather than kill their Victims. But for all its neat ideas. sna//y f x and youthful energy. this is by-the-nuiiibers kiddie sci-Ii. That said. 3rd Rock from the Sun regular French Stewart is hilarious as the crazed boffin behind the troublesome time-piece. iNigel Floydl I General release from Fri I 7 Oct.
By the numbers
(15) 93min (preview — unseen at time of going to press)
What happened to Cuba Gooding Jr? After picking up an Oscar for Jerry Maguire Gooding took a shot at the big time with leading roles in films such as Instinct and Men of Honor. That he was teamed up with established stars (Anthony Hopkins in the former. Robert De Niro in the latterl. should have alerted us that Tinseltown wasn't fully behind Gooding's rise to A-list status. That the actor has since slipped backwards to appear in forgettable trash such as Rat Race and Snow Dogs confirms Gooding don't cut it no more.
Boat Trip stars Gooding as a lovelorn sap who. after being dumped by his girlfriend lVivica FoXI for throwing up on her while hot air ballooning. is convinced by his best pal IHoi‘atio Sanx. the French toast-fucker from Road Trip) to take an ocean cruise for single males. But when the trip turns out to be organised by the Socrates Club for happy homos. Gooding .Jr finds himself pursued about the boat by a lecherous old gueen (Roger Moore ~- oh god. no. Roger!) Sounds more like Boat Shit to me. lMiles Fielderl I General release from [in 4 Oct.
.% l.’ Oct .)(‘k\;" THE LIST 29